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Skye Jethani: Redefining Radical (Part 1)

Why the call to radical mission is not the solution to consumer Christianity.

"How radical do I have to be?" the suburban mom asked. She had recently read a number of Christian books decrying the self-centered nature of much of the American church. The authors had apparently had enough of the consumer orientation of their congregations. As a remedy, each of the books calls readers to live a counter-cultural life of radical sacrifice and mission. The books, while inspiring, left this woman feeling "exhausted."

"I totally agree with the their assessment of the church. We are too self- centered," she explained. "But how radical is enough? Should I sell my house and car? It is wrong for my kids to be attending a private school? Do I need to move oversees and work with orphans? I want to really experience the Christian life, but now I'm wondering if that's even possible here in the suburbs." She was looking for my pastoral advice. What I told her is not what I would have said 5 years ago.

I agreed with her that consumer culture has impacted the way many Christians view ...

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